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Madeline’s Café and Bakery
501 North Washington
Lexington, NE 68850
Madeline’s Café is a charming spot for lunch and a working meeting
by Pam Soreide, Betty Sayers and Phil Soreide
We should have been planning ahead, of course, but life happens and here were the Rural Foodies approaching the end of another month with no new restaurant experience to share with our — we like to imagine — legions of faithful followers. To complicate matters, we have agreed to be judges in a patriotic Independence Day boat parade on Johnson Lake.
We were chosen not for any particular expertise in things nautical or patriotic but simply because we don’t own property at Johnson Lake and could therefore be presented as impartial arbiters. We imagine passions can run high in a contest like this and prejudice obviously can’t be tolerated.
It turns out the contest is just a big party on the water, as boats strung with bunting or red, white and blue balloons with Uncle Sam at the wheel — usually with lots of kids — jockeyed for position while patriotic anthems blared from the loudspeakers out over the water. We did our judicial duty and selected a boat with a large papier mache eagle on the prow, one with Lady Liberty in the stern, and one where the people appeared to be having more fun than should be strictly legal. For our efforts, we were reward with a Eustis Pie Lady pie and multiple handshakes from the Johnson Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Which still left us with the problem of lunch.
Madeline’s Café and Bakery
To be perfectly fair to Madeline’s Café and Bakery, Saturday afternoon shortly before they close is not the best time to experience what they have to offer. They have a charming spot downtown and most mornings we imagine they are doing a good business of breakfast pastries and hot drink specialties; we could easily imagine the people of Lexington choosing Madeline’s for a slice of pie or cheesecake with a cup of coffee at lunch, then maybe an iced Chai on Thursday or Friday afternoon.
Every town should have a place like Madeline’s to grab a cuppa joe on the way to work or to sit for a while with friends and nibble a scone or a cupcake. Madeline’s is crisp and modern in its décor, with sturdy, comfortable chairs and tables, and an overstuffed couch.
The lunch menu selection changes every day. When we were there, it was the Turkey, Bacon and Avocado Panini with chips and the Mandarin Salad with grilled chicken, although interesting choices we might encounter on other days included a Chicken, Artichoke and Sundried Tomato Panini and the Tomato-Basil Grilled Cheese. Madeline’s also serves soups, pastas and wraps.
In any event, we ordered one each of the special du jour, and a ginger-peach iced tea, an iced coffee and the Madeline’s Blend brew of the day, all of which were quite nice, and found a table near the window.
A working meeting
What we were doing was perfect for a place like Madeline’s. A little working meeting regarding some of Nebraska Rural Living’s upcoming and ongoing projects, in this case accompanied by some nice drinks; a crisp, well-presented salad with a soy-ginger dressing and delightful fresh greens; a tasty panini and those premium, kettle-cooked chips and a pickle.
And all we can tell you for sure is that we enjoyed it. Somehow, in the relaxed conversation and atmosphere of Madeline’s we forgot what we were doing; our notes on the meal are very sparse.
We did come to our senses long enough to specifically divide into three pieces and enjoy the red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting we’d bought to share. The cake was nice and the frosting especially creamy, which made us eager to try some of the other cupcakes available on a rotating basis including Boston Cream Pie, Lavender, Chocolate Raspberry and Black Forest. Like the pies and cheesecakes, the cupcakes can be ordered in quantity if you just talk to them in advance.
We’ll have to come back
If you find yourself in Lexington, don’t want the fast food and are looking for an alternative to Mexican food, we can recommend Madeline’s. Even though we don’t feel as if we really give it a fair trial, we can say the food is good, it’s quite clean and very pleasant, and the service is friendly and efficient. And while we can’t guarantee it of our own knowledge, we suspect the pie just might be worth going out of your way for.
And really, what more do you need than that?